Mail caption: Anna Costin has been jailed for falsely accusing three men of rape after the Attorney General challenged her ‘lenient’ community service sentence
Our thanks to John for this piece in the Mail, two days ago:
A woman who walked free from court despite falsely accusing three men of rape will now be jailed for four years after senior judges agreed her initial sentence was ‘too lenient’.
Anna Costin, 30, was handed three years of community service at Shrewsbury Crown Court in March by Judge Peter Barrie after admitting seven counts of perverting the course of justice.
Costin, who has mental health problems, accused three men of rape and a fourth of physically assaulting her in her own home.
Today London‘s Appeal Court heard one of her victims was able to rubbish her claims with a ‘cast-iron alibi’ because he was away on holiday at the time.
Another victim proved that he had been at home watching TV when she claimed he raped her.
All three men accused of rape had to undergo intrusive medical examinations, and one of them was particularly vulnerable due to his mental state.
Today Lady Justice Hallett agreed that Castin’s suspended sentence was too lenient and the crown court judge had ‘placed too much emphasis on her problems and difficulties’ rather than the ordeal her victims endured.
The appeal court judge said: ‘This pattern of offending was in our view extremely serious. ‘We acknowledge the extent of her difficulties and the considerable care and support which professionals have offered her over the years.
‘However, to our mind the level of seriousness of these offences is such that it was not possible to impose a community penalty’.
She said the court would have substituted a sentence of around six and a half years if Costin had contested the charges.
‘But in light of her guilty pleas and her very substantial personal mitigation we will reduce that figure to four years,’ concluded Lady Justice Hallett.
Costin’s false complaints were levelled against her victims between January and March 2016, the court heard.
She told police how one of the men raped her on the carpet of her own home after first taking off her clothes.
The man was arrested but rapidly released when police confirmed his alibi.
But, soon afterwards, Costin made another complaint of sexual assault against the same man, claiming he had grabbed her breasts.
He was arrested once more, but again released after providing a compelling alibi.
Costin’s second victim was similarly accused of raping her at her home, the court heard.
Costin, of Shrewsbury, lied that he ‘forced her onto the sofa, and pulled down her clothes and raped her’.
Police were able to confirm that he was at home watching TV at the time, but Costin responded by making yet another false rape complaint against him.
This time he was able to prove that he was eating a take-away dinner at home at the time.
Costin’s other offences followed a similar pattern, said Lady Justice Hallett.
Her case reached the Appeal Court as lawyers for the Attorney General, Jeremy Wright QC, attacked her sentence as ‘unduly lenient’.
Lady Justice Hallett, sitting with two other judges, noted Costin’s ‘extensive history of mental health difficulties’.
But she also highlighted the ‘insidious’ nature of her crimes, which had a deeply traumatic impact on her four victims.
In letting her walk free, the Crown Court judge ‘placed too much emphasis on her problems and difficulties, and insufficient emphasis on the consequences for the victims and for the criminal justice system’, she added.
Lady Justice Hallett substituted a four-year prison sentence for the community order.
Costin was ordered to surrender to police custody in Shrewsbury by noon tomorrow to start her sentence.